For over 50 years, Mt. Hood Meadows has been evolving, transforming and adapting for its skiing and snowboarding visitors. Dave Tragethon, vice president of sales and marketing for the ski resort, said that same ideology continues today.
“We’ve actually begun diversifying the different products and services that we offer so that we could attract more and a broader section of people,” Tragethon said. “Whether they’ve never skied or snowboarded, or they are very advanced and just want powder or double black diamonds we have to accommodate the entire spectrum. Now we have snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. We’re broadening and diversifying our winter experience.”
The diversification of the resort’s services and experiences have been driven by a need, Tragethon said, but is now leaning mostly to the wants of people.
After its completion in 1967, Mt. Hood Meadows offered, and still offers, equipment rentals. Soon after that ski and snowboard lessons were available. The idea was to teach the basics of the sports and get people comfortable in the snow, Tragethon said.
Once people understand the basics, then it’ll be easier and more enjoyable for them.
Another need that skiers and boarders had was childcare. During the 1999-2000 winter season Mt. Hood Meadows opened its state certified daycare.
“Before we had daycare, we used to try to address the needs of our guests with two day a week mini mite. It was a special ski school lesson that we offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays,” Tragethon said. “We found that there were a lot of people who ski and snowboarded who were dropping out of the sport because they didn’t have a place to drop off their kids. We found that that was a barrier for families that have parents who’re very passionate on the mountain.”
Infants as young as 6 weeks and kids as old as 11 years can be dropped off at daycare. Mt. Hood Meadows employees also take advantage of the service.
Its latest need that was fulfilled was the completion of the Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital Mountain Clinic. The clinic not only serves Mount Hood Meadows, but also receives patients from Timberline Ski Area and Government Camp.
“It’s basically the same as an emergency room at the mountain,” Tragethon said. “We have the capability to take x-rays. It’s as though as if you’re walking into an ER and that’s the type of treatment you can get. I would suggest that those that are regularly staffing the clinic at Mt. Hood Meadows may be more suited to certain types of injuries than if you went to an E.R. because they see common injuries that come from the slopes.”
There’s even a helipad for situations where a person needs to be flown out for intensive care, Tragethon said.
Now that most needs have been taken care of, Mt. Hood Meadows is building a learning center, restaurant and event center: The Sahale Building. It’s expected to be finished in 2020/2021 season.
“The primary thing that it’s going to do is provide 60 percent more seating in our lodges on those busy days where we desperately need it,” Tragethon said. “But it’s also going to give us a chance to provide a much more varied menu in the Sahale grill. It’s a building that’s multi-use that we’re going to be able to use it for summer operations, meetings, wedding space, for our summer kids camps in addition to our chair lift operation and culinary that we offer.”
With its latest additional services, Mt. Hood Meadows provides it still has skiing and boarding opportunities for different skills.
Mona Goudarzian from Corvallis and Erika Linden from Portland first visited the resort Jan. 25. Both, who are fairly new to the sport, skied and visited the restaurant during their stay.
Linden said she appreciated the helpfulness of the staff at the resort.
“People have been helpful enough that it makes it more streamlined,” Linden said. “At Willamette I feel like I had to intentionally seek out where here they were more helpful.”
Goudarzian said Mt. Hood Meadows provided a fun recreative experience where she bonded with Linden, an idea that Tragethon wanted to convey.
“We’re taking that message and theme of diversification and we’re applying it to the resort,” Tragethon said. “The idea is not just diversifying Meadows, but also recognize that Portland market, the northwest generally, is growing. We’re designing this to present to a larger variety of people that would be inclined to go downhill skiing, snowboarding and hiking.”